Looking for clever teacher gifts ideas? You’re not alone.
Every year readers write to ask the a variation on the same question about clever teacher gifts.
What are some inexpensive gifts for preschool teachers?
How should I handle middle school teacher gifts?
What are the best gifts for high school teachers?
Do you have ideas on gifts for elementary school teachers?
What are some teacher appreciation day gift ideas?
Basically, all these parents want to know what to buy a teacher.
These teacher gift questions happen three times a year.
- I get asked about the top 10 teacher gifts right before the December holidays.
- In May you’ve got Teacher Appreciation Day.
- Then in May or June, I get asked about end of school year teacher gifts.
Parents want to know the etiquette of giving teachers gifts (do I give or do I not give?). They also want to know appropriate gifts for teachers, what are good gifts to choose, and how much they should spend.
To make my advice easier to follow, I’ve broken out tips based on the “level” of school your child attends. Read on for my ideas on what to give your favorite educator this year for the holidays, Teacher Appreciation Day or for the end of the school year.
Inexpensive Gifts for Preschool Teachers
Most nursery or preschool teachers spend a lot of time in the classroom or out on a playground, using their hands. It’s true with teachers at daycare, too. Whether it’s pushing kids on the swings or washing out paintbrushes, these teachers deserve a gift of pampering.
When you’re thinking about inexpensive gifts for preschool teachers or teacher gifts for daycare, why not think about a gift card for a manicure, pedicure or massage? You can make this an inexpensive class gift for your child’s teacher by asking parents to give a small amount. The more people who can contribute, the bigger the gift you can give.
Spafinder Gift Card
I love the notion of giving a Spafinder gift card. This gives the recipient the freedom to choose where her or she wants to get pampered.
Right now you can save big on Spafinder gift cards, depending on how much you want to spend or how much you’ve collected from class parents. Here are two deals you can use as a holiday gifts for teachers.
Amazon Gift Cards
What teacher wouldn’t love an Amazon Gift Card?! That’s an easy teacher Christmas gift or easy teacher Chanukah gift to be sure. This way the teacher can buy themselves a book to read or something else.
Have a favorite local bookstore you want to support? You can give a gift card to that store instead.
DIY Food Gift
If money is tight, a plate of homemade cookies–even the slice-and-bake variety–is wonderful. This was our go-to teacher gift during the lean, suddenly frugal years.
What I like about the gift of food is that teachers can share these with their colleagues. We love Ghirardelli mixes for making brownies!
FYI, when you sign up for Prime Pantry, you’ll save even more on brownie mix and everything else.
Gifts for Elementary School Teachers
I still love the notion of a gift card as a gift for an elementary school teacher. An Amazon Gift Card would work here, too.
Since I’ve run into my children’s teachers at the local java joint on school mornings, it dawned on me that a coffee gift card to help them with their morning Joe just might be the perfect teacher gift idea.
The gift of games for the classroom
Another clever gift idea for an elementary school teacher? A board game for the classroom. My daughters favorite when they were little was Connect 4. If you give the gift of games for the clasroom, this gives the kids have something new to play with during indoor recess.
Don’t forget staff and specials teachers
FYI, when my kids were in elementary school, I gave a gift to the primary classroom teacher. In addition, I gave school staff appreciation gifts. That would be for student teachers, classroom assistants and other staff in the school.
Also, I always gifted the specials’ teachers. I figured not many parents remembered those educators who are an integral part of your child’s school experience as well. Maybe it’s because my mother was a physical education teacher and my father a music teacher that I remembered little gifts for these teachers. A gift card in a nominal amount to treat them to coffee would be great.
Middle School Teacher Gifts
Once again gift cards can come in handy as a teacher gift. Wondering how much to spend on teacher gift cards? Even if you can only afford $5 or $10 each, that’s enough. A Fandango gift card will definitely keep you in this budget range.
Buy gift cards in bulk
You can always count on companies to offer free gift card deals at the holidays. This free gift card usually comes when you buy gift cards in bulk.
This year many restaurants are offering free bonus gift cards when you buy a certain amount of gift cards. This may help you get the gift cards you need at what amounts to a discount. In fact, this is my favorite way to get cheap gifts cards.
Right now you can find deals on gift cards to the following restaurants, including free shipping:
Check out gift card marketplaces
You can also try buying gift cards on one of those marketplaces. These are the online stores that have legit gift cards at a discount.
One such store is Raise.com. Right now, you can get ready for the holidays and save! New customers get $5 off their first order of $50 or more with code RAISEAF50.
Best Gifts for High School Teachers
One of the best gifts I could give my daughters’ high school teachers was a way to give back.
In our school district there is an education fund that allows you to make a donation in the teachers’ names. The teachers are notified of your donation. Then, they are able to apply for a grant to use this money to somehow better their classroom or their students’ educational experience.
It’s one of those perfect little gifts for teachers that doesn’t cost a lot but can make a huge impact.
If your school district doesn’t have a foundation, then many of the middle school teacher gifts work for high school teachers, too. So think gift cards and food.
Gift card for an online stylist
A well-dressed high school teacher might enjoy the gift of a personal stylist. An affordable personal online stylist, that is.
Online styling company Stitch Fix gift cards start at $20. You can give Stitch Fix for men’s clothing and women’s clothing. Here’s my review of four popular women’s online styling companies.
Teacher Gifts in College
Just kidding–you’re finally off the hook. Now it’s up to your kids (now adults) to figure out how to come up with teacher gifts for their professors!
One More Idea for Clever Teacher Gifts
Still stumped about clever teacher gifts? I know that a handwritten note from your child can go a long way. Have your child tell a teacher how they feel (in a good way) about being in that classroom. That might be the best gift of all that a teacher could receive.
In fact, many teachers tell me that the best gift they can receive from a student is a note from a student. A great way to be frugal when it comes to giving someone a handwritten card is to buy them in bulk. I love these all-occasion, blank notecards from Amazon. You get 48 cards for less than a quarter (i.e. $.25) a card!
If you’re a teacher or an educator and I’ve missed any great ideas you’ve given or received, please post a comment below.